So what are trackers ?

Trackers are software (tiny programs) whose role is to gather information on the person using an application or program.

These types of trackers are designed purely for determining your digital identity. This identity may be your real identity, or a random identifier (pseudonym, fake, alias, etc). The goal will be, for example, to be able to correlate an individual’s online and offline activities.

 

Crash reporting

These trackers specialise in reporting application crashes. In other terms, their goal is to notify application developers that an app encountered a problem. As such, information collected at the time the application crashed will allow the developer to correct the bug.

Analytics

These trackers are meant to collect data usage and allow the developer to have a better knowledge of their audience. As an example, to know what area of the website you use, which links you clicked on, where you spent the most time. For the record this website has no trackers whatsoever.

 

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Ad Trackers

Purely these types of trackers are to build a social profile of you, learn about what you like and where you spend your time. This is only possible if you already have a digital profile already established. The function of these trackers is to serve you targeted ads and monetise their application/software. You end up becoming a product.

Location Trackers

As the name suggests, these trackers aim to identify you, and follow you….everywhere. To determine your physical geographical location. These are different to analytical trackers which only focus on your digital location.

To locate you, these tracker use a range of highly advanced sensors:

  • GPS chips

  • WI-FI networks present in the area (WI-FI triangulation)

  • Surrounding cellular antennae

  • Nearby Blue-tooth beacons

  • Specific sounds from loudspeakers

There are others !!

 

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Profiling

Like a vacuum cleaner sucking up as much vital pieces of information about you as possible these trackers are real and dangerous. The focus here is building a virtual profile. To this effect, the tracker will for instance focus on the browsing history, or on the list of installed applications, and so on.

These are different to identification trackers, the latter purely focus on identifying whether you are who you say you are.

Who puts these tracker in the software ?

Organisations (software and technology companies) when they build there products subcontract the application to third party companies.

The contract specifies what the application needs to perform and what technologies are employed to do so. Sometimes the subcontractor already has an application template that they re-use for each new application. In such a case all applications that are developed will include these trackers whether or not they are specified in the programming contract.

In some cases, employees of the organisation decide to whether or not to include certain trackers.

 

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